Guest post by Sister Maryellen Blumlein, archivist, Sisters of Charity of New York
National Catholic Sisters Week is being celebrated for the first time in 2014. We, as Sisters of Charity of New York, members of the Sisters of Charity Federation, would like to celebrate and recognize a few of the ways in which we contribute to the mission of Jesus.
The Sisters of Charity of New York
The principal end for which God has called and assembled the Sisters of Charity is to honor Jesus Christ our Lord as the source and model of all charity by rendering to him every temporal and spiritual service within their power…” Thus begins Elizabeth Seton’s adaptation of the rule of St. Vincent de Paul.
From the beginning of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph in Emmitsburg, the Sisters have recognized the needs of those around them and attempted to meet them with joy and grace. The Sisters of Charity of New York continued the ministries of education, healthcare, childcare, social service, and parish ministry from their earliest days in New York (1817) until today. Within more recent years the spectrum of ministries has broadened. Sisters now work with the homeless, the immigrant, trafficked persons and others who suffer great injustices. Sisters’ Hill Farm helps to educate interested persons in the methods and practices of farming. Centers providing English language instruction, GED and citizenship classes are also available. Sisters are involved in giving spiritual direction, coordinating Houses of Prayer, and pastoral care in hospitals, nursing homes and parishes. As the numbers of vowed religious decrease, the number of lay persons who are being “trained” in the community charism is on the rise. Sisters and lay associates work side by side in the areas of our traditional ministries as well as in the more recent needs that have come to light in our world.
St. Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer and Evangelization Ministries
“Our mission as a community is to share the Church’s mission of evangelization: to reveal the Father’s love, to proclaim the good news of the saving power of Jesus, and to minister the grace of Pentecost to all who know their spiritual need.”
The Elizabeth Seton House of Prayer, founded in 1975 as a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of New York, began with seven Sisters of Charity of New York. Over the past 39 years SCNY’s have shared the life of community and prayer with sisters from other congregations and many lay persons. The original seven sisters are: Sisters Pauline Cinquini, Nancy Keller, Cathy Feeney, Marjorie Walsh, Gloria DeArteaga, Joseph Mercedes Kerins and Celine Rogers. The sisters began by conducting House of Prayer Experience weekends as well as days of prayer, prayer meetings, teaching weekends, charismatic, Ignatian and contemplative retreats, and conferences. They were and are very involved with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and both Sisters Nancy and Pauline are active on an archdiocesan, national and international level.
Not all of the original seven sisters are still part of the House of Prayer community. Sisters Nancy Keller and Pauline Cinquini are now joined by Sisters E. Bernadette Brennan and Mary Tommasino as they continue the ministry of prayer, spirituality and evangelization. For the past almost forty years this ”powerhouse of prayer and witness” has continued to bring the good news of Jesus to the countless visitors and participants involved in their many and varied programs. These sisters continue to preach the love of God and the power of the Spirit by their example in their daily lives. We look forward to this ministry continuing far into the future.
Sister Regina Murphy, SC
In 1997 Sister Regina Murphy was among the “Women of Justice” honored at the 25th anniversary of NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. The award honored her lifelong commitment to Social Justice.
She was the first Roman Catholic Chairperson of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility in New York. In this role she was a tireless advocate for responsible corporate investments and economic justice.
She was a key international leader in the creation of and campaigning for the MacBride Principles for fair employment in Northern Ireland
She was the co-founder and Director of the Intercommunity Center for Justice and Peace.
Today in 2014 Sister Regina Murphy’s dedication and enthusiasm for systemic change is as strong as ever. As Co-Chairperson of the Global Poverty Task Force of the Sisters of Charity of New York she directs the task force in its efforts to follow Pope Francis’ lead in advocating social and economic reform.
Sister Mary Donagher
An English Major and born teacher, Mary spent her first twenty-one years on “mission” in Education. Six of those years were spent in the Sisters of Charity Mission in the Bahamas where her love of the poor and desire to help them improve their lives was nurtured and developed.
After ten years of mission at St. Barnabas High School as Teacher and Assistant Principal, she became Pastoral Associate at St. Joseph’s Parish and St. Paul’s Parish, both in Manhattan. In this ministry, Sister Mary saw her role as an example of the service of women in the Church. People came to know her as one who served especially the most vulnerable; the elderly, sick, street people, and the homeless. She was the Education Coordinator at Siena House, a transitional housing facility located in the South Bronx.
Mary’s passion for adult education of the poor led her to many volunteer services in this field. Today, she volunteers as a tutor in the Sisters of Charity ESL program. As co-chairperson of the Sisters of Charity Task Force on Global Poverty, she encourages the members to educate government leaders to work for systemic change via the new technology methods. She has been and is an educator, incorporating the media of the times. From pencils and books to all forms of internet her mission to educate has thrived.